Today I had to get up early to catch a non-existent train. Of course, I didn't know it was non-existent as I got showered and hurried down my breakfast before dashing out of the house. I found out at the station. Apparently my train to Manchester was cancelled because it was "late leaving the depot". Which makes it sounded like they were trying to blame the engine itself. Anyhoo, after a brief panic I caught an earlier train that arrived later and made it to Manchester in time for my session. Which was great fun.
I was talking about "Machine Learning", which is the tool that you use when you don't know how to solve the problem. As I said during the talk, there was a time when the thinking was that when we can get computers to play chess, we'll have cracked artificial intelligence. This turned out to be wrong. In fact, things that are hard for people (play chess, do sums very quickly etc etc) are comparatively easy for a computer but things that are easy for a human (get meaning out of conversation, walk down a busy street etc etc) are very hard for the machine.
However, this is changing. Computers can do difficult things now. And you can build these behaviours into your applications. I showed off some software that recognised emotion, and another system that could tell stick figures from fish, and all using C# and running in my lowly Surface Pro 3.
If you want to have a go at this, and find out more about Machine Learning (and you should) take a look at the labs pages for the tour which are here.
Thanks so much to Microsoft for putting the tour together and Pete for making it work in Manchester. It was great fun and the audience were lovely. And, to make the day even better, my train back actually existed.